16 Aug 2012

Three Years On: When Country-Styled Gardening Meets In-Town Elora – The Gardens of Don and Inge Sinclair


I’m often perplexed by the passage of time. Perhaps its an inevitable sign of getting older! There’s an adage where gardening is concerned: in their first year they sleep, in the second they creep, and in the third they leap! I’ve not really observed it closely enough in my own garden to be able to comment on its validity, but this morning, after spending time in my own garden, I made the trek to neighboring Elora where I visited the gardens of Don and Inge, a wonderful couple who have magically transformed their in-town property into a slice of heaven. You can read about my first visit here.

DSC_0041This tree, Pyrus salicifolius, it of the wonderful greyish silver foliage represents my first introduction to Don and Inge. I was working at Lost Horizons at the time, and they called in looking for a pair of…. well, this Ornamental Pear! [Why is it that I laugh hardest at my own jokes! Another sign of getting older no doubt!] I find myself assigning specific plants to my clients. Not quite what I myself refer to as a ‘signature’ plant, but one whose name and image immediately brings the gardener[s] to mind.

DSC_0013 Part of the reason for my visit was to take them my beloved Abies koreana ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’ – he of the mesmerizing bluish purple cones and silver reverse to his curved needles. He was languishing in my placement. I did have an opportunity to witness his mesmerizing cones, but with each ensuing year he looked sadder and more frail than the last!  I recently purchased a memorial tree, Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Gold Rush’ and instantly recognized where it would be planted. You guessed it! After conferring with Inge on a recent visit to the nursery, she assured me that she might be able to squeeze ‘Horst’ into her property. It was music to my ears. I hate to abandon or give up hope on any of my ‘children’ – and knowing that he would be going to the home of a pair of kindred spirits when it comes to gardening made the transition more bearable. August is a difficult month as it is!

DSC_0014 The entrance to the woodland garden is punctuated with a large Acer species. It casts a delightful canopy of part shade over some of Inge’s most treasured plants which include Cpyripedium reginae and calceolus. Inge, in a moment of secrecy confided that this is one of her favourite sections of the property and its not hard to see why! I was instantly smitten!

DSC_0016DSC_0021Hydrangea paniculata ‘Tardiva’ I believe is what Inge said this is? I like its airy appearance. She enjoys the fact that it doesn’t turn pink like many of the others within this popular species.

DSC_0023 DSC_0024 … and yes, I squealed out loud when Inge confirmed that this magnificent trifoliate foliage does indeed belong to my favourite within the genus, Arisaema candidissimum, a house warming from yet another consummate plantswoman!

DSC_0027First introduced to the wonderful genus Taxodium when I was employed at Lost Horizons, I was not surprised to see this magnificent weeping specimen, Taxodium distichum ‘Cascade Falls’ as part of this magical gardens inventory. Also known as ‘Bald Cypress’ it is tolerant of very wet sites, and develops elbows that poke up out of the water as it matures. A wonderful example grows in the damp gardens of Beth Chatto’s UK gardens.

DSC_0028 I love when I am introduced to a new plant. At first I thought this silver foliaged plant was an Artemisia of sorts, but Inge explained that in fact it is a form of Veronica, with magnificent blue flowers! I must learn its exact identity as I am confident it would be a hit on the benches of LittleTree.

DSC_0029 DSC_0034 DSC_0037 A row of windows at the back of the house, ensure that Don’s art studio is bathed in natural light throughout the day! I was privileged to be able to photograph a few of his remarkable paintings, but you’ll have to wait for the secondary concluding part of this post to see them. For now, a few more pictures to denote that we’re only at the halfway point of this magnificent property!

DSC_0038DSC_0043 Stay tuned for the conclusion of this sublime tour!


Chen said...

Teza, That silver leaf Veronica; Veronica incana?

outlawgardener said...

What a stunning garden! I can't wait for part two!